Mi Teleférico

27
Apr

2016

Numbers Don’t Lie: La Paz’s Cable Car Report (Mi Teleférico)

This past week, the Mi Teleférico (English: My Cable Car) network in La Paz-El Alto, Bolivia celebrated its 2nd birthday in grand fashion with music and live performances.

Despite its relatively short existence, the world’s largest network of urban cable cars has reached heights never achieved before by any other gondola line (figuratively speaking, the record for world’s highest passenger ropeway belongs to the Doppelmayr-built Dagu Glacier Gondola in China).

To highlight their achievements, the operators released a report called, Los Números de Mi Teleférico (English: The Numbers of My Cable Car).

The Numbers of My Cable Car. Image by Mi Teleferico.

The Numbers of My Cable Car. Image by Mi Teleferico.

The 92-page report is written in Spanish but with the help of colourful visuals and Google Translate, I’ve been able to summarize some of the main points most relevant to city-planning folks.

Passengers and Urban Mobility

  • 43,248,826 passenger trips between May 29, 2014 to March 31, 2016 (22 months)
  • ~60,000 riders per day with a daily network record ridership of 162,465
  • At 10km (3 lines), it would be tied with the Newark Light Rail as one of America’s shortest American rapid transit lines. However, it transports more daily passengers than 72% (26) of Light Rail Transit/Streetcar systems in the US
  • 6,500 daily boardings per kilometre. In comparison, this mean that Mi Teleférico’s average daily boardings per kilometre is 17% greater than the highest average daily boardings per kilometre for LRTs in the US (Boston’s MBTA light rail: 5,368)
  • 99.3% availability (Red Line: 99.4%, Yellow Line: 99.2%, Green Line: 99.3%)
Time savings. Image by Mi Teleferico.

Time savings. Image by Mi Teleferico.

Time Savings

  • 652 million minutes (2015)
  • 453,000 days a year (2015)
  • 1,200 years (2015)

Safety and Health

  • 312ppm (cable car) vs. 1021ppm (minibus) — carbon dioxide levels in vehicles
  • 59.3 decibels (cable car) vs 68.3 decibels (minibus) — noise levels in vehicles
  • 2 accidents on cable car (due to falling tree and user behaviour) vs. 9,181 traffic accidents in La Paz (2015)

Environment

  • 3 million litres of gasoline saved per year
  • 8,000 tons of emissions prevented
  • 1,129 trees planted in phase 1

 

Cable car revenues. Image by Mi Teleferico.

Cable car revenues. Image by Mi Teleferico.

Economics

  • >100% farebox recovery ratio / 0% subsidy. Median farebox recovery ratio in US stands at ~35%
  • ~US$21 million in revenue (Bs150 million)
  • ~US$500,000 in tax contributions (Bs3.6 million)
  • ~US$1.3 million in advertising revenue (Bs8.9million)
  • 1397 direct jobs generated
  • 4899 indirect jobs generated

As you could probably tell, the numbers above is merely a brief summary of the report. But if you’re interested, the 92-page report is actually a very enjoyable read (even for those who aren’t familiar with Spanish).

In the face of these telling numbers, some cynics have argued there are more pressing concerns in La Paz-El Alto that the government hasn’t addressed. While that is true to a certain degree, there’s no denying that Mi Teleférico is a smashing success.

As somewhat of a crude but somewhat accurate measurement, the system’s popularity and online following is massive with close to 170,000 likes on Facebook. This completely trumps what is found on other Facebook pages of major transit agencies: Toronto Transit Commission (12,200 likes); New York’s MTA (57,600 likes); and Singapore’s Land Transport Authority (122,500 likes).

It’s still incredible to see how in less than a decade, gondolas have transitioned from being a relatively “niche” public transit technology, to having an entire city build its transit backbone with Cable Propelled Transit (CPT).

Cabins for Blue and White Line are arriving soon. Image by Mi Teleferico.

Cabins for Blue and White Line are arriving soon. Image by Mi Teleferico.

And remember, it doesn’t end here. The city is continuing to blaze new trails and is ready to open 7 more lines in the upcoming future. This brings the entire city’s gondola network length to more than 30km! In fact, the Blue Line (Linea Azul) and White Line (Linea Blanca) is estimated to be 70-75% complete as of early April 2016.

Overall, these stats help reinforce what many in the ropeway industry already know — that is, cable car technology is amongst the safest, fastest, and most reliable transportation systems in existence.

 

25
Apr

2016

AJ+ on La Paz Cable Cars: “Possibly the best commute ever!”

We honestly couldn’t agree more! :)

04
Apr

2016

La Paz’s Cable Cars Receive Most Innovative Transport Award

At this year’s Smart City Business America Congress and Expo in Curitiba, Brazil, the My Cable Car (Spanish: Mi Teleférico) system in La Paz was recognized as the Most Innovative Transport System in the region.

Bolivia's World's Longest Cable Car

The 10km cable car network, built by Doppelmayr, began operations in 2014. Today, after nearly two years since its inauguration, the network transports an estimated 100,000 passengers per day.

Seven more cable car systems, which are currently in the various stages of planning, design and construction, will add more than 20km of CPT to the city in the near future!

18
Feb

2016

La Paz: Purple Line Starts Construction, Silver Line Announced

In just 22 months, La Paz urban gondola network, Mi Teleférico (My Cable Car), has surpassed 40 million riders. That’s an average of about 1.8 million passengers per month, or 60,000 per day.

By comparison, that’s more daily riders than many LRT systems in the USA, including New Jersey’s $2.2 billion, 27km (17mi) Hudson-Bergen Light Rail.



Perhaps this isn’t all too surprising since the 10km long cable car network (3 lines: Red, Yellow, Green) has a total capacity of 18,000 per hour (both directions) while providing 12 second headways. For many riders, the US$0.40 urban gondola line ride has reduced travel times by up to 60 minutes, making it an attractive and cost-effective alternative to the chaotic bus system.

To better understand how deeply integrated the system is in people’s lives, the cable cars are often used to fulfill a variety of social objectives. For instance, the cable car recently served as a platform to promote awareness on HIV prevention.

While it is already considered the world’s largest network of urban gondolas, the president quickly announced plans for phase 2, thereby adding 6 more lines (totalling 20.3km, and 23 stations).

So far, these plans have been moving along at near break-neck speeds. Large shipments of ropeway equipment continue to arrive in the city from Doppelmayr’s Wolfurt headquarters. Based on online reports, the Blue Line and White Line are nearing completion with the Blue Line scheduled for operations by the first half of 2017.

CABLE CARS GALORE

And just this week, two major announcements were made.

A new cable car, the Silver Line (Linea Plateada) was announced while construction works for the Purple Line (Linea Morada) began.

Silver Line

The Silver Line will integrate with 4 cable car lines — the Yellow Line, Red Line, Purple Line and Blue Line. Image from Mi Teleferico.

Once designs are complete, construction of the Silver Line (2.6km, 3 stations, 11 minutes, 39 cabins, US$60 million) could start in 2017 and be operational by 2018/2019. The cable car will effectively unify and integrate 4 separate lines (Yellow, Purple, Blue and Red).

If this wasn’t enough excitement and activity for one week, the President took part in laying the foundation stone for the Purple Line (4.4km, 3 stations, 189 cabins).

Purple Line

Purple Line notice. Image by Mi Teleferico.

Unlike the cable cars found in phase 1, the Purple Line will feature higher specs and has been dubbed, the “Express Line”. Compared to existing travel times along this corridor, the Purple Line is projected to cut commutes by more than 20 minutes.


Due to phase 1’s popularity (Red, Yellow, Green), it was found that greater capacities were needed to meet passenger demand. As such, the Purple Line has been designed with maximum speeds of 6m/s (5m/s in phase 1), capacity of up to 4,000 pphpd (3,000 pphpd in phase 1), 9 second headways (12 seconds in phase 1) and cabin spacing of 54m (60m in phase 1).

Once again, as we can see in the Purple Line, ropeway technology has demonstrated its ability to push the envelope and respond to the rapidly changing demands in the urban market.

 

29
May

2015

Weekly Roundup: Urban Gondola Phase Two Begins in La Paz



A quick look at some of the things that happened this week in the world of urban gondolas, cable cars and cable propelled transit:

$450 Million Phase 2 Breaks Ground (La Paz, Bolivia)
Faster than you can say Teleferico La Paz-El Alto, the second phase of the already largest network of urban transit gondolas has started. Last week, Line Blue broke ground while civil works for the Orange Line and White Line began yesterday. In total, phase 2 will comprise 6 new cable car lines and extend the existing network by 20.3km!

Slums as a Cultural Product (Rio, Brazil)
Former no-go zones for tourists, favelas (the Brazilian Portuguese for slums), are becoming cultural products. According to a recent doctoral thesis, modern visitors to Rio de Janeiro still visit Sugar Loaf and Corcovado but are increasingly interested in local lifestyles. The urban cable car in the Complexo do Alemao favela makes visiting favelas easier. Promoters have demonstrated flashy creativity, even naming one tour, “Route Map of the Prince” after Prince Harry’s visit in 2012.

Artic Town Plans Cable Car (Kiruna, Sweden)
News reports suggest that a town in Northern Sweden, Kiruna, will completely relocate itself to make room for a mine expansion. As part of the $375 million development project, a 11km (7 mile) cable car system is in the works. With winter temperatures dropping to -30 degrees Celsius, it’s a good thing that cable cars were designed for ski resorts!

Mi Teleférico / Weekly Roundup
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12
May

2015

Green Line Opens, Phase 1 Complete

Green Line. Image by Doppelmayr.

With the opening of the Green Line in La Paz-El Alto, Bolivia last December, it officially marked the completion of phase 1 in the city’s aerial transport revolution. The three urban cable cars, Red Line, Yellow Line and Green Line have surpassed all expectations.

To find out more about the project click here.

Mi Teleférico
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06
Mar

2015

Weekly Roundup: Agreement Signed for 6 More Urban Cable Cars in La Paz-El Alto



A quick look at some of the things that happened this week in the world of urban gondolas, cable cars and cable propelled transit:

La Paz (Bolivia)
The delivery of a funicular connecting 17 de Obrajes station on the Linea Verde (Green Line) marks the completion of La Paz’s Phase 1 cable car plans. And without wasting anytime, Phase 2 agreements have been signed between the government and Doppelmayr for 6 more urban gondola systems! The total investment will be USD$450 million and the cable cars are scheduled to open by 2020.

Jerusalem Cable Car (Israel)
Reports indicate that government authorities will soon reveal their plans for a cable car connecting Jerusalem’s Old City. The $31 million system is meant to provide improved transport to the city’s 3 million tourists.

14th year anniversary (El Paso, Texas)
The Wyler Aerial Tramway in Franklin Mountain State park is set to celebrate its 14th birthday since it re-opened in 2001. The original system first began operations in 1960 and operated until 1986. Festivities will be held on Saturday from 12:00pm – 5:00pm

Utica Proposals (Utica, New York)
A concept for an urban gondola connecting Harbor Point to the city’s downtown has been raised by councillor Ed Bucciero. The councillor is pushing to have the idea considered by local officials for a more thorough analysis and discussion.

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Mi Teleférico / Weekly Roundup
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